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Magazine Readership Increases, and That’s the Truth

By Scott Olson on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @ 12:17 PM |


You might not believe it, but total magazine readership for the first quarter of 2013 actually increased. Believe it. For the past few weeks we’ve talked about some of the benefits of magazine advertising and why marketers should be including magazines in their campaigns. And now this. Do you believe me now? I hope so.

We started a few weeks ago with the expansion of Meredith’s guaranteed ROI program, followed by the four benefits of magazine advertising and the six reasons you need to advertise in magazines. If you’re thinking to yourself, ‘enough already, we get it, stop beating the dead horse.’ Clearly there’s still some life left and today we explore what’s happening with magazine readership.

Now according to the article in MediaDailyNews, the total audience hopped up 2.36% from spring 2012 to spring 2013. I say ‘hopped’ because let’s be honest, while it’s an increase, it’s not a huge gain. However, it’s certainly headed in the right direction, and something advertisers and publishers should be happy to see.  The other thing about this increase is that it’s not coming strictly from where you’d expect: digital and tablet editions. Print editions of magazines are increasing as well, 113 of the 182 titles measured by GfK MRI, or 62%, reported increases in print audience. Unfortunately ad pages in publications continue to decrease.

One way to change that tide might be for advertisers to take a look at the titles with the biggest increases and better understand who’s reading those titles. For instance, it’s not US Weekly, TIME, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated that are seeing the major increases. Instead, the magazine readership is increasing in more specialized titles, like Psychology Today, Yoga Journal, Diabetes Forecast and Food Network Magazine.Magazine readership in specialized titles like Psychology Today and Yoga Journal is increasing

Looking at this list you might be thinking, ‘these are lame titles no one’s heard of, how are they gaining in readership?’ Here’s how: they’re specialized publications with content directed to a targeted audience. They get who they’re writing for and what to include, and their readership recognizes the relevancy of their content. My opinion is that’s exactly what advertisers are looking for: an engaged audience seeking and digging into what’s being delivered to them via their subscribed to media vehicle. If it’s not, you should let me know in the comments.

One major brand, while maybe not the most popular, has just returned to magazines after a five-year hiatus. Camel Cigarettes is launching a new campaign in a select group of publications after being absent from print media since 2007, according to a story in Ad Age. While the strategy has not been disclosed, tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard, the third largest cigarette maker, spent $96.2 million dollars on consumer magazine media last year. That’s a pretty penny, or one that’s a bit stained and yellow at this point.

Advertiser RJ Reynolds is coming back to magazines with Camel cigarettes after a five-year hiatusBetween the readership gains and advertisers such as Camel demonstrating a confidence in magazines, it’s clear the medium is still viable, both in print and digital platforms. What magazines do, as evidenced by the number of specialized titles, is target specific audiences in particular local areas. What this means for advertisers is an opportunity to target readership segments based on geographic as well as demographic traits.

If you haven’t considered magazines recently it’s time you brought them back into the discussion. Not just because Mediaspace can provide you efficient magazine buying, but because magazines can help you reach your local target audiences and increase your bottom line. If you want to learn about the benefits of local advertising, download our research report now. And if you’re interested in integrating your print and digital campaigns to reach magazine audiences on both platforms, we have an eBook for that, too.

Download the 10 Benefits of Local Advertising eBook

 Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on FacebookGoogle+Twitter or LinkedIn.

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